Key takeaways from the food & beverage forum

In a panel discussion at the recent Mazars Food & Beverage Forum, leading industry voices addressed major trends and pivotal questions that will influence the industry in 2023.

The panelists included Brian Choi, Managing Partner & CEO of The Food Institute; Jason Cohen, founder and serial snacking entrepreneur; Samuel Kestenbaum, Founder & CEO of Food Fraternity; and George Zoitas, CEO of Westside Market. The panelists covered a range of vital topics related to food and beverage companies' growth and success.

Here are several highlights and key takeaways from the session

Discussion began with a focus on the snacking industry, an area of significant growth within food and beverage. As Brian Choi noted, the snacking industry has significantly increased consumer engagement and consumption.

The surge in snacking is largely attributable to the pandemic, which created a hybrid work-life environment that supported health consciousness and a habit of continuous snacking. People from different demographics, including Gen Z, millennials and baby boomers, are increasingly embracing snacking.

The panelists emphasized that understanding consumer preferences and trends is crucial to success in this competitive market.

Entering the market and securing partnerships with big-box retailers like Kroger, Walmart or Target was another hot topic. The panelists emphasized the importance of creating products that appeal to the broader consumer base, particularly in Middle America.

Entrepreneurs must focus on product availability, consistency and reliability to build lasting relationships with retailers. Ensuring products remain in stock and consistently meet demand is vital to building trust with retailers and consumers.

Amid potential economic challenges and recession still anticipated to hit sometime in 2023, food and beverage companies must plan for future growth. The panelists stressed the significance of staying agile and adapting to changing market conditions.

Entrepreneurs should continuously evaluate their business models, market strategies and product offerings to stay ahead of the competition. Investing in talent and fostering a culture of innovation is critical to driving growth and staying relevant in this, and any, industry.

The panelists agreed that talent acquisition is critical for success in the food and beverage industry. Hiring individuals who are passionate, hungry (pun intended) and driven is vital to build a high-performing team. Entrepreneurs should seek professionals who understand the unique challenges faced by the industry and can navigate the market's complexities. The right team can drive innovation, execute plans effectively and contribute to overall business growth.

Entrepreneurs should also consider seeking support from experienced advisors and investors who deeply understand the industry. The panelists stressed the importance of partnering with investors who are empathetic and supportive of entrepreneurs during successes and setbacks. Investors genuinely interested in a company's success can provide valuable guidance, financial support and strategic advice.

The discussion concluded with a focus on the importance of knowing when to persist and when to pivot. Entrepreneurs must be willing to adapt their strategies and product offerings based on market feedback and consumer demands.

Summing up, the Mazars Food and Beverage Forum offered valuable insights from industry leaders on navigating growth and success. Entrepreneurs must remain customer-focused and open to change as the food and beverage industry continues to evolve. Understanding consumer trends, building solid relationships with retailers and investing in talent are all key factors contributing to a company's success.

By staying receptive to market feedback and leveraging the expertise of advisors and investors, food and beverage companies can position themselves for long-term growth and prosperity in this dynamic and competitive industry.


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Kristen Walters

Whether it’s due to the surge of snacking across demographics and ages, environmental factors, or uncertain economic forecasts, it’s straightforward. Food and beverage companies must be more adaptable than ever to survive in today’s dynamic marketplace. If they can’t manage independently, they must partner with experienced advisors or investors genuinely interested in their success.

Kristen Walters Partner, Food & Beverage Practice Leader

The information provided here is for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, legal advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal or other competent advisers.

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